St. Joseph’s Academy honored the class of 2018 at the 52nd annual Honors Convocation, held May 18 in the new Academy Student Center. The evening event was sponsored by the faculty and alumnae of SJA.
President Jan Rhorer Breen welcomed the large gathering of family, friends, faculty and staff members, and theology faculty member Kayla Moscona introduced the 258 members of the graduating class, many of whom were escorted by their father. Senior Jade Woods offered the opening prayer.
Katie Jeter Valenciano, a 2004 graduate of SJA and the director of alumnae relations, inducted the members of the class of 2018 – the Academy’s 141st graduating class – into the Alumnae Association and said the red roses they received from the association symbolized their union with 9,719 women who graduated before them.
Dean of Women Aubrey DeJohn announced the senior class favorites: Meghan Johnson, most athletic; Vivian Brown, most talented; Mary Catherine Lorio, most likely to succeed; Emmalie Callegan, most school spirit; Megan Gremillion, most friendly; Alexandra Hinkle, most studious; Aidan Asmus, most witty; Jessica Munson, most attractive; Anna Koonce, best personality; and Jade Woods, best all around.
DeJohn called forth the 96 seniors who gave at least 50 hours of service during each of their four years at SJA. Also recognized were the students chosen by their classmates to crown Mary at the annual May Crowning ceremony earlier this spring: Juliet Alise, Clare Barfield, Kennedy Benjamin, Vivian Brown, Caroline Cotten, Barbara Flandez, Megan Gremillion, Alexa Gutowski, Emily ashore, Kennedy Walker and Jade Woods.
SJA’s four major athletic awards were given. Clare Barfield received the SJA Scholar-Athlete Award for academic excellence and athletic success. Meghan Johnson received the Sister Ursula Harelson Award, given to an outstanding student and dedicated athlete who is hard-working, selfless, competitive yet humble. Fran Okpalobi was named the recipient of the Sherri Troxclair Award for courage, determination and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while excelling in sports and making major contributions to the school community. Elise Caruso was named the SJA Outstanding Athlete for excellence in sports and for being both a strong leader and role model for her peers.
Principal Stacia Andricain announced the recipients of the Distinguished Quality Awards for 2017-2018. Megan Gremillion received the Medaille Outstanding Classmate Award as the outstanding member of the class of 2018. She also received the Downtown Kiwanis Courtesy Award, voted on by the senior class and given to the senior who is considerate and respectful of others’ thoughts and feelings. The award was presented by Kiwanis member Dorothy Kemp. Kennedy Walker was given the American Legion Award, voted by her classmates on the principles of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service to God and the community. The award was bestowed by Ray Guitreau.
Vivian Brown was awarded the Knights of Columbus Patriotic Award, given to a senior who exemplifies the qualities of hard work in academics, love of God and country and patriotic actions in her daily life. It was presented by David Goldsmith. Claire Doucet received the Breaking Barriers Grant, established by Laureen Callo ’83 and given to a senior planning to attend an out-of-state school and pursue a major that has not been traditional for women. The award is given to a senior with a demonstrated record of academic and co-curricular achievement and a commitment to service.
Dean of Academics Dr. Jason Hanks announced the recipients of SJA’s special memorial awards. Ann Nguyen received the Allison Grace Honeycutt Memorial Award, given to a senior known for her gentle, caring manner and free-spirited approach to life and who loves working with young children. The award was given by Allison’s parents, Blayne and Valerie (Plaisance, SJA class of 1979) Honeycutt. Juliet Alise was the recipient of the Courtney Myshrall Memorial Award, given to a senior who is kindhearted, nonjudgmental and whose outgoing nature and joy for life touch those around her. The award was established by Courtney’s parents, Steve and Sharon Myshrall. Sharon, class of 1969, and three of her grandchildren, Eli Breedlove, Camille Piner and Keller Piner, presented the award.
Rebecca Schwartzenburg received the Jeannette Svendson Memorial Award, given to a senior who exemplifies love and kindness, who is always positive and who is filled with appreciation for life. Jeffery and Martin Svendson presented the award in memory of their sister. Annaclaire Acosta received the Frank and Maria Bologna Award, given to the senior selected by the faculty as the hardest-working student. The award was given by Re Bologna DiVincenti, class of 1971, and her husband, David, daughter and son-in-law of Frank and Cookie Bologna. Jade Woods received the Cyrus A. Greco Service Award in recognition of her service to the school, her classmates, community and the faculty.
DeJohn recognized the 84 recipients of the Seal of Bi-literacy, given to seniors who successfully completed a level four foreign language course and earned qualifying scores on the English and reading sections of the ACT. Andricain also recognized outstanding students in each subject area. They were Alexandra Hinkle, art achievement, Latin and mathematics; Ann Nguyen, art service; Helen Alford, band; Caroline Anne LeBlanc, chorus achievement; Barbara Flandez, chorus service; Kailynn Guidry, dance achievement; Alyssa D’Agostino, dance service; Jade Woods, English; Lorrel Brown, family and consumer science; Jane Jeha, French; Emrey Broyles, Spanish; Abby Genre, health and physical education; Meghan Johnson, health and physical education Accelerate; Aidan Asmus, health and physical education FIT; Claire Doucet, science; Lauren Campbell, social studies; Raquel Hodgeson, technology achievement; Julia Rogers, technology service; Vivian Brown, theater achievement; Madeline Territo, theater service; and Clare Barfield, theology.
Andricain also recognized the 41 students who earned second academics for maintaining a 3.0-3.499 cumulative grade point average throughout their SJA years and the 87 students who earned first academics for maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 during their high school years.
The Principal’s Award was given to 14 students who earned all As for semester grades in every class taken over four years. Recipients were Clare Barfield, Amy Brouillette, Emrey Broyles, Lauren Chauvin, Allison Contois, Jeanne Contois, Megan David, Alexandra Hinkle, Raquel Hodgeson, Jane Jeha, Adele Poché, Abby Shortess, Summer Smith and Jade Woods.
Ninety-seven were awarded an honors diplomas for maintaining a minimum 3.8 cumulative GPA while taking at least nine honors or advanced placement courses during the past four years. Also announced were the honor diploma students with the highest averages: salutatorian Emrey Broyles and valedictorian Lauren Chauvin.
Andricain congratulated the soon-to-be graduates and honored them as women who inspire the future with their talent, dignity and potential to make a difference in the world.
Juliet Alise offered the closing prayer, and Caroline Anne LeBlanc ended the evening with the singing of the Alma Mater.
Each year, alumna Liz Batchelor McKowen donates the red roses presented to the graduates by the Alumnae Association. The roses are donated in memory of Liz’s father, the late Alymer Price Batchelor.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine